After last weeks show I received the e-mail below from an industry friend who is concerned about escalator accidents, especially the one that happened at the Triangle Town Mall. With his permission to republish it I felt that this was the best way to reach as many people as possible in hopes of preventing accidents such as this from happening in the future.
I'm thankful that industry experts such as Helmut Meuris is doing his part in sharing the important information that he has learned from his work with escalator accidents.
If you have any questions or comments I encourage you to contact Helmut for additional information.
Remember that many of the escalator accidents are indeed caused by rider behaviour! Spread the word about the safe use of elevators and escalators by promoting the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. We can all make a difference if we do!
e-mail from Helmut Meuris - 11/4/2009
Relative to the above, I was in the business of lifts and escalators for some 40 years before I was asked to act as an expert witness in an event similar to the above. It was not until this time that it became obvious to me there is a problem at the top end of down escalators.
What occasionally occurs is someone faces in the direction of the void adjacent to the escalator and, due to a crowded situation, is forced against the outside edge of the escalator handrail which is moving in the direction towards the edge protection guard around the atrium.
When contacting the outer edge of said handrail, one is propelled towards the void and depending on the pressure between handrail and body and the height of the fixed guarding, (Required to be a minimum 1000mm in this country (Australia)) as well as the gap between the escalator and the fixed guarding, there can be sufficient momentum generated to throw someone over the guard.
The friction generated between a handrail and someone’s body can be considerable and in fact lethal in as much as it can be instrumental in toppling them over the guarding. Something I did not give any credence to until investigating the fatality that took place here.
On a different location a near-miss was also recorded on a security camera as well clearly showing the above. In this instance the woman was prevented from falling by having her ankle caught. Yes it was the entrapment of her ankle that saved her life.
I did discuss this at the ISO WG5 level however am not sure if the US representatives took it on board.
I am sure the Escalator Safety people would be most interested in this one.Best regards Helmut Meuris 53 Torwood Ave. Glen Waverley Vic. Australia 3150 Phone: (61)(03) 9574 8090 Fax: (61)(03) 8502 0684